Allow for Travel Time When Responding to a Preventive Maintenance Issue
Managers also need to remember one of the biggest losses in reactive work — travel time. Do technicians have appropriate means of transportation? The more quickly they complete the reactive work, the more time they will have for the proactive part of their jobs.
To make this strategy even more effective, managers can establish a dedicated emergency crew solely responsible for handling all unplanned, unscheduled, and emergency calls. Managers more than likely will notice some additional benefits once the dedicated reactive crews are in place. For example, some employees prefer one type of work, which might lead to a happier worker and which should result in a higher quality of work, whether the work is reactive or scheduled.
My preference is to keep the dedicated emergency crews assigned to reactive work for no less than a couple weeks and no more than a month and a half before rotating them back into the planned and scheduled crews. Managers must be careful, however, not to leave them assigned to these teams too long because it might affect the cross-training of the rest of the front-line staff.
Impact On Staff
Right now, some of you are thinking, "My crew size will not allow me to dedicate even one person to reactive work."
That's fine. The way to handle the situation is to assign just one technician to always be the reactive person when a call comes in. The others, even if the crew is very small, always stay on their assigned work unless the designated reactive technician needs an extra set of hands or assistance in troubleshooting if it is beyond his experience and knowledge abilities. Based on the call history, managers will be able to adjust the schedule of the reactive technician.
Consider this example: If the repair history indicates that the facility averages 20-30 hours of reactive work per week, then only schedule the dedicated reactive technician 10-15 hours of planned work per week, knowing the rest of his or her week will be filled with the maintenance chaos that occurs daily. The jobs planned for the reactive technician each week should be relatively short, fairly simple, and easily dropped or canceled without affecting the asset, the operation, or the outcome of the assigned task.